Tea Story

“To infinity and beyond.”

I have recently been enlightened by the plethora of health benefits from tea. Although I am not advocating that you will live to “infinity and beyond”, the laundry list of health benefits is exhaustive and should not be overlooked. Here are just some tea’s possible health benefits, cited from a growing number of studies:

♥  reduces risks of certain cancers
♥  improves cardiovascular health
♥  helps with weight loss (lowers cholesterol)
♥  strengthens immune system
♥  reduces hypertension
♥  and…. LAST BUT NOT LEAST — improves skin and complexion!!

I am a strong believer that great skin comes not only from good quality skincare, but also from a healthy lifestyle and a stress-free state-of-mind. Drinking tea, in my opinion, is an effortless way to achieve both of the latter points. Infused with vitamins, minerals and potent antioxidants, tea is one of the easiest ways to enhance your overall health. I must say, there is something about a hot cup of tea that encourages one to just take a moment, sit back, relax and sip slowly. It may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’ amidst a stressful day.

Being Chinese, I grew up drinking tea. While I always inherently knew it was “good for me”, as a child, I never really understood why my ancestors swore by this stuff for the last 4000+ years. Once I really immersed myself into the tea industry, I was completely enamored by the rich history, the unbelievable health and skin benefits, and the vast varieties to choose from.

Here are some of my key insights:

  1. Spend a little more for a good quality cup of tea. While the generic tea bags that you can purchase in your local grocery store may be convenient, you will not get the full health benefits of tea if you are purchasing the tea bag varieties. Tea bag varieties contain older tea leaves that have already lost many of its nutritional benefits. More specifically, tea bags contain fannings (as opposed to full leafs), which are fine siftings leftover after larger tea leaves have been removed. While fannings allow for shorter steeping times and provide immediate and intense flavor, the flavors do not actually bloom in the same way loose leaf teas do, and as a result tastes fairly flat. Good quality teas are picked from the youngest shoots, which contain the full flavor profile and contain the maximum amount of nutrients. Treat yourself to a good loose leaf tea. And don’t worry – teas, in general, are not too expensive. Even a good cup of tea will only set you back $0.50 to $0.60 – c’mon, I know you at least spend over $4 on your Starbuck’s cup of coffee!
  2. Teas contain 2 or 3 times less caffeine than coffee. I know you heard those rumors that coffee contains less caffeine than tea, but that is simply not true. Think about it this way, have you ever felt jittery after a strong cup of coffee? I bet you have never felt that way drinking tea. Tea gives you an overall lift in energy and increased mental alertness. It does not have the same heart-pounding, eye-popping, stimulating effects that a strong cup of coffee has, which can leave you with an unpleasant caffeine crash once it wears off.
  3. Teas are rich in flavonoids and catechin polyphenols which have an abundance of antioxidant properties. Due to its radical-scavenging abilities, antioxidants protect against cell damage and have detoxifying effects on the body. Research has shown that regular tea drinkers (people who drink 2 or more cups a day) “have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and they recover from heart attacks faster” (WebMD). And of course, since antioxidants are the most sought after group of ingredients in skincare, tea may have anti-aging benefits for the skin.
  4. Select the tea for your specific concern. If you have sensitive skin, black tea may be the choice for you. According to the Journal of Science Food and Agriculture, animals that were given black tea extracts produced fewer inflammatory compounds in response to allergen exposure [1]. If you are concerned with weight loss, you may want to drink green tea. Green tea contains a high amount of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), and according to the findings of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010), EGCG was linked to an increase in fat oxidation [2]. White tea, being the least processed, is said to contain the highest amount of antioxidants out of all teas, which is why you will see its increased presence in numerous skincare products.
  5. Drink the tea that you fancy. With so many varieties, blends and flavors, feel free to choose the tea that you enjoy. The fact of the matter is: all teas contain flavonoids and they will ALL provide you with antioxidant benefits. Let’s be real – you will not receive health benefits from something that you refuse to drink! Whether you prefer earthy, woody blends, a bouquet of fragrant florals, or a concoction of sweet, exotic fruits, make sure you select the flavors that tickle your fancy.

Cheers to good health and beautiful skin! Sip up dolls!

Yours truly,

  1. Yoshino et al. Preventive effects of black tea theaflavins against mouse type IV allergy. Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture (2010) vol. 90 pp. 1983-1987
  2. Thielecke et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and postprandial fat oxidation in overweight/obese male volunteers: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr (2010) vol. 64 (7) pp. 704-13

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